When you have your own backyard flock, you don’t have to settle for boring white and brown eggs. To get a colorful, varied egg basket you will need a variety of chicken breeds. Chickens can lay a variety of egg colors, depending on their breed, but each individual hen will only lay one color of egg. So a chicken that lays white eggs will only ever lay white eggs.
During the egg making process inside of the hen’s reproductive system, the shell is the last piece to form. It takes a hen nearly 20 hours to form the shell around the white & yolk. All shells start out as white, but during the final stages right before laying, some chicken breeds have a gene that adds pigment to the shell.
Brown, white, blue, chocolate, green…..the shell color makes zero difference in the taste or nutritional content of the eggs. But it’s really fun to open an egg carton full of different colors!
Blue Egg Layers
Blue eggs are the holy grail of colorful egg baskets! There are several breeds of chickens that reliably lay blue eggs – ranging from light blue to a deep vibrant blue to a blue/green turquoise. Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Legbars are all pure chicken breeds that reliably lay beautiful blues.
The problem is these breeds are hard to find and expensive when you find them because of issues surrounding their breeding. Luckily, there are also cross breeds that are much easier to find. These cross bred “mutt” chickens might not all lay a consistent shade of blue as others of their “breed”, but have the possibility of laying all sorts of lovely shades of blue, green, or pink!
Easter Eggers are a commonly found and wonderful example of these cross bred chickens. You could have several Easter Eggs who all lay a different egg color, which is a fun way to add variety. Favaucanas are a designer breed crossing Faverolles and Ameraucanas that lay gorgeous shades of blue/green/sage eggs, exclusively found from the hatchery My Pet Chicken.
Chocolate Egg Layers
No these aren’t Cadbury chickens – but they are chickens that will lay gorgeous dark chocolate colored eggs! Welsummers are most commonly found in Partridge coloring, but also Gold & Silver Duckwing. As a bonus, Welsummers also lay the most speckled eggs of any chicken breed. Marans can be found in Black, White, Gold & Silver Cockoo, Columbian & Wheaten colorings, but the Black Copper Marans lay the darkest brown eggs of the Maran family. Barnevelders are beautiful chocolate layers that come in several colorings including black, white, blue, partridge, silver, dark brown, and some laced colorings.
Olive Eggers are designer chickens that are bred just for their cool egg colors which range from light green to olive to a bluish green. They are created by breeding a chocolate laying breed to a blue laying breed.
Cream Egg Layers
These chickens lay a lovely creamy white, slightly pinkish egg. Faverolles are gorgeous birds with thick muffs & feathered feet with very calm dispositions. Faverolles also have 5 toes on each foot, instead of the standard 4. Dorkings are one of the oldest domesticated chicken breeds and like the Faverolles also have 5 toes. Belgian d’Uccle are adorable little bearded bantam chickens who lay tiny creamy pinkish eggs. Belgian d’Uccles come in several colors including white, black, blue, porcelain, and mille fleur.
BONUS Black Duck Eggs
Want even more variety? You’ll have to add ducks to your flock to get this rare egg color. Cayuga ducks are an American duck breed that has gorgeous black/green iridescent feathers. They also lay a very rare BLACK egg! The black eggs are rare because they will only lay a few each year. The first egg of the spring season will be a lovely dark black. They will gradually get lighter over the course of the spring with lovely shades of grey until they settle on white for the rest of the year. Very cool!